Where are the British Titles?
Martin Theobald

The Londsale belt has a prestigious past.  It highlights who the best fighter in Britain is at the selected weight class.  Defend it 3 times, and you get a hand made version to keep for yourself.  Each belt is beautifully crafted with its own intricacies.  But could you name the title holders at present, and when did you last see the belts being defended?  To give you a selection of some of the current title holders (and these may surprise you), you have:

  • Super Flyweight:  Paul Butler
  • Bantamweight:  Jamie Mcdonnell
  • Super Bantamweight:  Scott Quigg
  • Welterweight:  Frankie Gavin
  • Middleweight:  Billie Joe Saunders
  • Super Middleweight:  Paul Smith
  • Light Heavyweight:  Tony Bellew
  • Heavyweight:  Tyson Fury

What the fuck?  From the 8 names listed above, 5 (Butler, Mcdonnell, Quigg, Gavin, Smith) each had their last fight for a World Title (some portion of, or against a holder).  Of the others, 2 (Saunders, Fury) have World Title shots lined up, while Tony Bellew is being careered to another shot.  So when do they defend these belts?  5 of the fighters are with MatchRoom, who are notorious for bringing foreign opponents (who, strangely, aren't applicable for a shot at the Lonsdale).  Saunders may have put the title on the line against Eubank Jr, but it felt more out of necessity than desire.  

So why do the fighters hold on to the belts?  Especially, and this is even more baffling, if the fighter isn't even in the weight class any more?!  Of the 8 listed, Gavin has now moved to Welterweight - and with his lack of dietary skills between fights, I wouldn't expect to see him move back anytime soon.  Bellew seems settled on a career at Cruiserweight.

Surely the British Board of Boxing Control should be managing the situation better.  Either defend the belt once in 12 months or vacate.  Sky may have no interest in showing the fights for the British title (it is cheaper to match up a foreign fighter with a padded record), so let these belts fall to the smaller hall shows.  Let lesser name fighters build up a career through holding these belts, before losing them or vacating themselves to move up a level.  By allowing the belts to stagnate and not be defended, you lose so much possibility of worthwhile domestic match ups.  

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